Kabayan party-list 'refuses to be bullied by Roque' amid replacement issues
(philstar.com) - November 6, 2017 - 8:31am

MANILA, Philippines — Kabayan party-list on Monday maintained that its third nominee Ciriaco Calalang is the legal successor to the position of Rep. Harry Roque despite the opposition of the new presidential spokesperson.

“Calalang is the rightful nominee to serve the unexpired term of Roque, who has been giving press briefings already in Malacañang at the podium of the presidential spokesperson,” Kabayan said in a statement.

The group said its board of trustees also backed the proclamation of Calalang.

The party-list claimed that Roque threatened to use his power as the new presidential spokesperson to obstruct the proclamation of Calalang and destroy Kabayan.

Kabayan also noted that Roque wants his chief of staff Romel Bagares to be proclaimed as his replacement.

It, however, said that Bagares could not succeed Roque’s position because he is not a member of Kabayan party-list.

It further said that the nominating authority is legally vested in Kabayan and not in Roque “who cannot nominate his replacement.”

According to Republic Act 7941, the vacancy in seats for party-list representatives shall be automatically filled by the next representative from the list of nominees in the order submitted to the Commission on Elections by the same party, organization or coalition.

“Kabayan party-list chooses to abide by the rule of law, not by the rules of Roque that only serves his personal interests,” the party-list said.

It added: “Kabayan party-list refuses to and will not be bullied by Harry Roque.”

READTough-talking Harry Roque now Duterte's spokesperson

‘Calalang can’t replace me’

Roque on Sunday claimed that Calalang could not replace him as the representative of Kabayan party-list.

In a statement, Roque said the group’s 52 voting members pronounced that the nominees submitted by Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo were not recognized. He was referring to Calalang, Paul Hernandez and Joshua Sebastian.

Last week, Roque said he wants the House of Representatives’ ethics committee to expedite his complaints against Salo and expel him.

Officials of the Kabayan party-list removed Roque as their first nominee early this year.

Among the bases for Roque’s ouster was the November 2016 hearing at the House where he asked sexual questions to Ronnie Dayan, the driver and former lover of former justice secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal Duterte critic.

Kabayan officials also questioned Roque’s behavior, which was made without their prior approval. It said Roque's pronouncements tarnished the party's principles and cast serious doubts on its ability to deliver its core advocacy.

READParty-list ousts Roque as representative

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